National Indigenous Peoples Day a celebration and a call to action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OTTAWA – National Indigenous Peoples Day is a day to honor the many contributions that First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples have made to Northwest BC and all of Canada, MP Nathan Cullen said today.

“This day is one of the most special of the year for me personally,” said Cullen.  “My family and I are blessed to live on the unceded traditional territory of the Gidimt'en Clan of the Witsuwit'en Nation, a privilege that has shaped who we are and how we see the world.

“We are proud to join our Northwest neighbors and communities across Canada today to celebrate one of the most important relationships that we have as a country – our connections with First Peoples.”

Cullen noted that as much as National Indigenous Peoples Day is a celebration of achievements that have helped to build a more just and inclusive society, the day must also serve as a reminder to Canadians, individually and collectively, of the many challenges remaining on the long road to reconciliation.

Among the important steps along this road, Cullen said, is the work of caucus colleagues MP Romeo Saganash (Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou)to successfully enshrine the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) into Canadian law, and a bill by MP Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River) calling for National Indigenous Peoples Day to become a statutory holiday. 

“Georgina’s bill, which underwent its first hour of debate in March, is inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to create a statutory holiday that would offer a public opportunity to better understand and ensure Canadians recognize our common history, and the work we must continue to do together during the reconciliation process,” Cullen said. 

Only the Northwest Territories and Yukon now observe June 21 as a statutory holiday.

National Indigenous Peoples Day, renamed last year from National Aboriginal Day, was proclaimed in 1996.  It occurs on June 21 each year partially because of the cultural significance of the Summer solstice when many Indigenous peoples and communities traditionally celebrate their heritage.

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 LINK: http://nathancullen.ndp.ca/national-indigenous-peoples-day-a-celebration-and-a-call-to-action

 Contact:         Shelley Browne, 250-877-4140, nathan.cullen.c1@parl.gc.ca